News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, JULY 22, 2007


Nonsmokers have choice where they want to go

To The Daily: I am currently serving our country in Afghanistan. However, when I come back home I will once again reside in Morgan County. I was born and raised in Decatur and I have seen many changes. Some were good and some were bad.

This latest change with trying to ban smoking in all public places puts the others to shame. How is it fair to stop me from smoking in a well-ventilated area, separate from the non-smokers, yet it is OK for me to share any area with someone who is getting drunk?

I haven’t heard of people getting too loud when they smoke, or just get done having a cigarette and getting in the car then killing a whole family in a collision. Yet I have heard these things about alcohol. I am not saying we should ban drinking. I am simply saying I have a choice on entering a club or sitting at the bar. Why can’t I have a choice of smoking when I finish my food or am relaxing?

The restaurant owner should be able to make this decision for his/her business and not someone warming a seat in an office. Like I said, I can choose not to go to a bar, so if someone doesn’t want to smoke or be around it, then let them choose not to go in there. However, I have never seen a fight break out over someone getting offended that someone is smoking in a designated smoking area.

Thank you all for your time and support and I hope to be home soon.

Sgt. James Lenz
Bagram, Afghanistan

Nonsmokers’ rights outweigh smokers’

To The Daily: Tobacco smoke is made up of “sidestream smoke” from the burning tip of the cigarette and “mainstream smoke” from the filter or mouth end. Many toxins are present in higher concentrations in sidestream smoke than in mainstream smoke and, typically, nearly 85 percent of the smoke in a room results from sidestream smoke.

The particulate phase includes nicotine, “tar” (itself composed of many chemicals), benzene and benzo(a)pyrene. The gas phase includes carbon monoxide, ammonia, dimethylnitrosamine, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and acrolein. Some of these have marked irritant properties and some 60, including benzo(a)pyrene and dimethylnitrosamine, have been shown to cause cancer. One study has established the link between smoking and lung cancer at the cellular level. It found that a substance in the tar of cigarettes, benzo(a)pyrene diol epoxide (BPDE), damages DNA in a key tumour suppresser gene. Nicotine, an alkaloid, is an extremely powerful drug.

The Royal College of Physicians has affirmed that nicotine causes addiction similar to drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Just 60mg of pure nicotine placed on a person’s tongue would kill within minutes, it is absorbed by the body very quickly, reaching the brain within 10-19 seconds. It stimulates the central nervous system, increasing the heart rate and blood pressure, leading to the heart needing more oxygen.

In a recent article another Daily reader stated in reference to those of us who don’t want to die because of her habit and I quote: “These self-righteous idiots want their way, not fairness.” These people are cutting into others’ rights to make choices. Well what about our right to live? After reading the aforementioned facts I ask the reader of the idiotic statement, who is the idiot?

Steve Escue

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